Researchers Begin Human Trial to Develop Male Birth Control 

March 30, 2022 by Alexa Hornbeck
Researchers Begin Human Trial to Develop Male Birth Control 

Researchers from the University of Minnesota will soon begin a human trial to develop a new birth control method for men using a compound known as YCT529.

There are currently only two forms of male birth control: condoms and vasectomies.  

According to a statement from researchers, many of the compounds in current clinical trials have targeted the male sex hormone testosterone, but this method can lead to adverse effects in men, such as depression and weight gain.

The results from a study of YCT529 use in mice was presented during a meeting held by the American Chemical Society on March 23. 

“We wanted to develop a non-hormonal male contraceptive to avoid these side effects,” says Md Abdullah Al Noman, a graduate student in the lab of Gunda Georg, Ph.D., at the University of Minnesota, during the presentation. 

To develop a non-hormonal male birth control pill, researchers targeted a protein known as RAR-α, which plays an important role in cell growth, sperm formation and embryonic development. 

The study conducted in mice showed an oral compound that caused reversible sterility, but the specific use of the YCT529 compound was able to inhibit RAR-α almost 500 times more potently.

The YCT529 compound was given orally to male mice for 4 weeks, which reduced sperm counts and was 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, without any observable adverse effects. 

Four to six weeks after stopping the YCT529 treatment, the male mice returned to normal fertility and could again reproduce. The human trial of YCT529, which received funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Male Contraceptive Initiative, will also explore the use of other compounds in developing a male birth control method. 

Alexa can be reached at [email protected]

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